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2013 Ball State
Schedule and Odds
Not many people know about Ball State because of the hype from NIU and Kent State last year, but they should not be forgotten. Outside of their bowl game, their only three losses were to both MAC division winners and Clemson. All of them happened in the first six games of the year. With quarterback Keith Wenning returning along with his top playmakers, the Cardinals are a team that can make a run at Northern Illinois in the West.
Wenning improved in his third season with 3,095 yards, 24 TDs and 10 INTs and is looking to gain even more ground in his final campaign. He's joined by top running back Jahwan Edwards (1,410 yards, 14 TDs) and two of the better wide receivers in the conference in Willie Snead (1,148 yards, nine TDs) and Jamill Smith (706 yards, six TDs). Not to mention his top tight end is back in Zane Fakes who had 57 grabs. The only problem for this offense is that the line is losing four starters and faces some major changes. All of the guys listed above can't repeat last season's numbers unless the line can keep them up right. Obviously, they'll still be good, but how good can they be with a new group in front of them?
Over the past few years, Ball State's defense hasn't provided much. They allowed 32 points per game last year and couldn't really stop anyone as every opponent scored at least 22 points against them. Jonathan Newsome and Nathan Ollie provide a good foundation on the line, but that's about it. All three linebackers are new and will be counting on a sophomore to lead the way in the middle. The secondary returns three starters from a unit that wasn't very good.
2013 Ball State Football Schedule
Aug. 29 vs. Illinois State
Sept. 7 vs. Army
Sept. 14 at North Texas
Sept. 21 at Eastern Michigan
Sept. 28 vs. Toledo
Oct. 5 at Virginia
Oct. 12 vs. Kent State
Oct. 19 at Western Michigan
Oct. 26 at Akron
Nov. 6 vs. Central Michigan
Nov. 13 at Northern Illinois
Nov. 29 vs. Miami (OH)
The positive in this year's schedule is that Ball State doesn't get a road game at Clemson thrown in at the beginning of the year. Their first four games of 2013 are all very winnable and they should be 4-0 entering a home game with Toledo. Considering they beat the Rockets on the road last year, that one needs to be a win.
The Cardinals will have to travel to Virginia at the beginning of October which should be a good game against the beatable Cavaliers. Even though it's unlikely, there is a possibility of being undefeated when they travel to Northern Illinois in mid-November. Of course, not having a bye week until their last game of the season could be troublesome.
The Cardinals still lack a defense that can take them places, but with an easier schedule, they will be competing with Northern Illinois. It's going to depend on their offensive line if they can get to 10 wins or not. It's definitely a possibility.
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